Stephen Gittins

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Stephen Gittins
Personal Information
Date of Birth c1895
Place of Birth North Perth, Western Australia
Death 11 Aug 1918
Place of Death Lihons, France
Age at Enlistment 21 years, 1 month
Description 5' 6¾" (1.70m) tall ; 150lbs
68.039 kg
; fair complexion ; blue eyes ; fair hair
Occupation Labourer
Religion Church of England
Address Karragullen, Western Australia
Next of Kin Father , Mr. Alfred Gittins
Military Information
Reg Number 6585
Date of Enlistment 16 Oct 1916
Rank Private
Unit/Formation 28th Battalion, 19th Reinforcement
Date of Embarkation 29 Jan 1917 ‒ 27 Mar 1917
Ship Embarked On HMAT A28 Miltiades Fremantle to Devonport
Fate MIA wounded, later confirmed to have been Killed in Action 11 Aug 1918 at Lihons
Monument Kelmscott War Memorial (North panel)
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
WA State War Memorial
Australian War Memorial
Medals British War Medal
Victory Medal

Pre War

War Service

On 3 Nov1916, a week after entering Blackboy Hill camp, Stephen was made a signaller and was trained accordingly as part of the 19th reinforcement draft for the 28th Battalion. They embarked on the HMAT A28 Miltiades on 29 Jan 1917 for the UK. On arrival at Devonport in England on 27 Mar 1917, he undertook additional training with 7th Training Battalion at Rollestone until 17 Oct 1917 when he journeyed to Le Havre in France via Southampton. On arrival he entered the 2nd Division's Base Depot at Le Havre before being sent forward to join his unit.

Stephen joined the 28th Battalion at Steenvoorde, just over the French border from Ypres on 23 Oct 1917, as one of 263 reinforcements. He remained with the 28th Battalion through the winter and then participated in the battles to both halt the German advance of 1918, and then the early battles as they were forced back up the Somme valley.

On 11 Aug 1918 Stephen was one of the "very light casualties" suffered by the 28th Battalion during an attack on the German front lines (9 KIA; 71 WIA). Initially Stephen was recorded as Wounded in Action, but this was to change later to Killed in Action. There is a note in his records which reads "Buried ½ mile east of Vauvillers and ¾ mile south of Framerville - (Rainecourt). However, it would appear that after the war, his grave was unable to be found and thus he is listed on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial. At 2:00am on 11 August the battalion had moved to their jumping off point between the lines, with a heavy bombardment of enemy lines (matched by their counter artillery and machine gun fire) commenced at 4:00am preceding the attack which commenced at 4:15am. All objectives had been secured by 4:45am

Casualty List 432 contains Stephen's death.[1]

  • Viller-Bretonneux Memorial - 2015 photo L Reynolds
  • Part of 28th Bn tablet at Villers-Bretonneux Memorial 2015 photo L Reynolds


On 14 Aug 1930 portion of a list of names to be included in the new State War Memorial on Mt Eliza was published, and Stephen's name and unit (28th Battalion) are on the list of names.[2]

Son of Alfred and Elizabeth A. Gittins. Born in Western Australia.


  1. "WESTERN AUSTRALIA.". The West Australian. XXXIV, (5,152). Western Australia. 9 October 1918. p. 7. Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  2. "STATE WAR MEMORIAL". Western Mail. XLV, (2,322). Western Australia. 14 August 1930. p. 13. Retrieved 22 June 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 

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